Dressing to teach in religious schools

In my boys’ school there is a dress code for the teachers. The female teachers have to cover elbows and collarbones, and knees. No trousers / only skirts etc. I have no problem with that, I have no clue how they enforce it if they do. But that’s what it is.

Some other schools insist that the Jewish female teachers who are married have to cover their hair on school property during school hours even if it is not their personal custom to do so. The non-Jewish married female teachers do not have to. Is this taking things too far?

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11 Comments

  1. Duvii says:

    Definitely. Since this is where we teach our children what Torah and Halacha are, it would be somewhat of a contradiction if a teacher was not behaving as per the accepted Halacha L’Chatchila.

  2. tesyaa says:

    I have seen cases where the girls have a dress code and there are teachers who dress less tzenua than the girls (e.g. short sleeves, no stockings or socks). I think this is unfair to the girls and there’s no reason teachers shouldn’t have to abide by a dress code also.

    • hadassahsabo says:

      should the teachers be forced to cover their hair too? (I agree that in a girls school the teachers must have the same standard of dress as the students)

  3. kari says:

    (disclaimer – I’m not Jewish)

    I feel that it’s absolutely appropriate for there to be a dress code for teachers and it would also be appropriate for the dress code to be consistent with values taught at the school.

    Therefore, if it is taught that women would dress in a certain manner then it would be appropriate for the women teaching that message to be dressed accordingly while teaching it.

  4. kari says:

    And yes, I think that would include hair covering if that is part of the standard of dress for married women.

    Now where I get lost (since I’m not Jewish) is whether the standard of dress is only for people who have taken certain vows or entered into covenants.

    If that’s the case then allowing unmarried women to have their hair uncovered or allowing non-Jewish married women to have their hair uncovered might be consistent with the standards taught.

  5. Chaviva says:

    What’s more interesting: a discussion of being a frum Jewish teacher in a public school. THAT is fascinating stuff, I think.

    But I think the dress code is important. I also think that a non-Jewish person signing up to teach at a Jewish school *has* to know what they’re signing up for. You know?

  6. Z! says:

    Yes, there should be a dress code for all teachers. It is like wearing a uniform to a factory, or other job.

  7. Talia says:

    I kinda think that if you sign on knowing that this is a frum school and that they want you to cover your hair, you don’t have the right to complain. BUT if this is a sudden rule change, that is not okay. I think it is being respectful to dress appropriately when you know what the right dress code is. Just like I wouldn’t show up to Chabad services in a mini skirt.

    Hi Kari! So here’s the deal, we don’t have convents or special vows for some people. In Orthodox Judaism, they follow the halacha (law) that says a married woman’s hair is part of her beauty or nakedness (from a section in the Song of Solomon). Therefore, married women cover with a wig, snood, or scarf, and unmarried women don’t, since your beauty is only for your husband…

    Hate to plug but I just wrote an article on modest dress for my website. It will go live on Jan 6 here – http://www.patheos.com/Religion-Portals/Jewish.html – if you are interested. :)

  8. In really RW boys’ yeshivas, no female teachers are allowed beyond preschool. Some of the more RW parents of boys in my son’s school found the fact that there were female teachers in middle school highly objectionable. BTW the school nurse also served as a science and substitute teacher. Whenever she was in the school, she wore a hat even though she did not cover her hair otherwise.

  9. Lady Lock and Load says:

    I think it is a sign of respect if a married female teacher wears a hat. The school can ask them to do so before hiring them. Just like a non-frum male teacher would put on a kippa. If either one doesn’t like putting on a kippa or covering hair they do not have to accept the position.

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